Navalny’s Call Answered By Thousands
Due to the exclusion of local candidates from an upcoming September 8 election, opposition leader and sometime Russian presidential candidate Alexei Navalny called for a protest. Russian officials estimate that 3,500 showed up in Moscow to demonstrate. Violence ensued as over 1,000 were arrested.
The protest gets at a deeper issue in Russia. Although Putin is still popular in much of the country, and won handily in last year’s election, his approval numbers have slipped recently in light of falling wages. Opposition lawmakers claim they are being strong-armed, but as Reuters reports, “Authorities say [opposition candidates] were barred because they failed to collect sufficient genuine signatures in their support.”
Of course, the story of Putin crushing dissent in all forms is nothing new. What has changed is the means by which the voice of the people is heard: notably, many of the arrestees were journalists or bloggers. As Reuters notes, police also raided a nearby office where Navalny’s supporters were livestreaming the protest.
This is a developing story, more to come on Tsarizm.com soon.
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